this thing called motherhood.


I was rocking Kemry to sleep last night, something I rarely do anymore.
She had just turned one.
My heart was aching a little.
As she was overflowing in my arms, all I could think about was how small she used to be.
And how hard it all was.
But somehow I survived.
One year down.
It blew me away.
Then I started thinking about all of the things I learned during that one year.

I decided to add them to the blog today.
15 tips for new mothers.
And for all women wanting to be mothers, too.
Here you go, all.
Take it for what you may.

1. It is going to be hard. Maybe harder than you think.
But it is all so worth it. That sounds all cliche, but it is so true. There really isn't anything that compares to it all. I can honestly say that I have never been so happy in my entire life.

2. Working {especially if you want to be a stay-at-home mom} may make you want to cry every day.
Sure, it is nice to get out of the house and be around people who can hold an intellectual conversation, but it still breaks my heart. At first, it is hard because they are so young, precious, new, amazing. And just when it starts to get easier, they have picked up on the fact that you are leaving and say, "Mamamamamaaaa" as they crawl toward you with tears in their eyes.
With that being said, it does get easier, and you will make it through it. I promise.

3. You may also want to cry because your child is growing up too fast. 
It is so awesome, though. They are so amazing and tiny and sweet and everything to you in the beginning, but it just gets more fun. Talking, walking, crawling, dancing, splashing. I have never laughed so much as I do now! You finally are staring to see all of your hard work coming through!

4. Yes, breast is best, but we all know you can't be best at everything in life, and that's okay.
Breastfeeding is so hard. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. You might think that carrying a baby for 9 months and then being in the most painful labor for 22 hours is the most difficult part of it all. 
Nope. It's breastfeeding.
Before your baby is born, breastfeeding might creep you out a little. It did to me!
And then the baby comes, and holy moley.
It hurts. Oh does it hurt!
And it is a team process where one player is usually not on board.
I only breastfed for a week.
I wish I would have tried longer, but with a NICU baby who was given bottles and my three rounds of painful mastitis {due to cracking during the first week}, I had a good enough reason to switch to formula.
I pumped exclusively for another month, but the mastitis made it so I couldn't even take care of Kemry. I was curled up on the couch with 4 quilts and a heater, shivering, in awful pain, fever soaring, not being able to move. Each episode lasted 4 days. It pretty much robbed me of my baby's first month. 
The hardest part of it all was feeling judged and guilty that I wasn't nursing. It took me a very long time to get over it all. But, one day, I realized that my baby was doing fine. And I was doing fine. And everything really was fine. 
So, mamas. Hang in there. I envy all of you who are able to nurse. And yes, I will try again with my next child, but it is 100%, wholeheartedly FINE if you cannot nurse, {at least give it a try and work through as much as you can}!

5. Bath time is heaven-sent.
It makes Kemry stop crying every time {unless she is really sick}. She LOVES taking baths. 
If I can't get her to stop fussing, we just walk to the bathroom and turn on the water. She instantly gets excited. We strip her down, plop her in, and let her go crazy. CRAZY, I tell you!
Plus, the combination of warm water, lavender soap, and high-action playtime makes her crash quickly after, making bed time even more enjoyable!

6. Find a way to keep a record 
Yes, I bought a baby book to fill out. 
No, I never filled it out.
I would have kicked myself, though, if I hadn't found a way to keep a record of her life!
Take pictures {like I annoyingly do}, video-record their playtimes, start a blog, Shutterfly it, whatever it takes!
I highly recommend this journal. I have the Mom's Journal for Kemry's life plus the other one for my day. You simply fill in one line every day for five years.
I love them! I am now on year two, and it is amazing to look back on where your baby was one year ago to-the-day.

7. Late-night showers will save your life {er, hygiene?}.
It is so important to take care of yourself.
When Kemry was first born, I couldn't put her down.
Yes, she was cute, and I always wanted to hold her, but she would fuss after just a few moments of being placed down. Showers never seemed to happen.
It was driving me nuts.
Cut yourself some slack for the first few weeks. For your baby's health, you shouldn't really be out in big crowds anyway.
The way I solved this problem was to shower at night.
Kemry would be all snuggly and warm, and I could take 30 minutes to myself.
And it felt so good. It was my designated time for myself. I could paint my nails afterward, put on lotion, pluck my eyebrows, do whatever to get part of myself back.
If this doesn't work for you, find another time for yourself, even if it is only 5 minutes!

8. You are no longer your first priority.
This goes along with the last tip. 
Your baby depends 100% on you.
As she grows, she becomes more independent, but anytime she needs you, she NEEDS you.
I had a hard time with this, mainly with taking my coveted showers and getting my sleep {which, for me, is my herion}.
My best advice is to start off right away forgetting about yourself {except those 5 minutes I told you to get!}. This baby becomes your world, whether you like it or not. And if you start out selflessly, you will end up liking it rather than the other option!

9. Remember those size 4 slim-fit straight jeans? Throw them out.
That was my butt.
When it was all cute and stuff.
We will just say that your post-pregnancy body is a little different.
Well, even 12 months later, it is still different.
I am at my pre-preggers weight, but my favorite pair of said jeans don't fit anymore.
Let me tell you why.
I now have two watermelons for a tush.
And my hips are wider than a school bus.
And yet, no significant weight difference.
The worst thing you can do is hate your new body.
I did for a while. I think that  might be natural. 
Your upper-ladies go from normal to porn-star to grandma, all in the blink of an eye.
One year later, I still have a faint hint of that cute pregnancy belly-zipper {linea nigra, for all of you smarty-pants out there}. And those small stretch marks on my hips are finally fading.
You should be proud of that little body you have! It went through a lot.
When it comes to losing weight, I was no pro.
I only exercised a few times a  week and drank lots of water.
At 9 months preggo, I was 35 pounds heavier than before.
20 of that fell off within the first month or two {another reason to nurse if you can!!}.
Those last 15 were dang hard. I am still trying to keep it off and tone back up.
Regardless of what happens with your body, learn to love it. It's all you have got!

10. No baby is cuter than your own.
Except mine.
Now that we have that settled...

 11. Your body somehow functions with sleep deprivation on its own.
But you can sure help it.
Power nap during that ridiculous episode of Wonder Pets.
Concealer, mascara, and over-sized sunglasses.
Vitamin B. And lots of it.

 12. It's okay to ask for help.
It is also okay to accept help. That is why they are offering it.
Because it is okay.

 13. Bumps, falls, scratches, fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes.
They will all happen.
Not only will your baby survive them, but you will, too.

 14. Now is a great time to thank your own mother.
After all, chances are she is right by your side, getting you through those first tough days of nursing, 4 am diaper changes, and gassy baby-tummies.
You will have a whole new appreciation for what your parents did for you {especially your mom}.
And you will call them every time you get stuck as a parent.
They might be your greatest help. Ever

15. You will feel insecure, vulnerable, and inadequate.
But you aren't.
You are amazing. You just had a baby.
You did that.
And as for taking care of that baby...
You will know what to do.
Trust me {and your instincts}.


  1. Love love loved this post! way to go Vandy, congratulations on your first year down!

  2. Great post Vandy! It feels good to hear all of those things. I know people who just chose not to breastfeed at the very beginning and everything was fine. I'm definitely going to try but I sure can't guarantee how long I'll last ha ha. I hate those people who judge the heck out of those who didn't or don't breastfeed. Anyway, I was happy to read all of your tips! Thanks for posting!

  3. PS - that picture of Kemry between 9 and 10 is still one of my favorites. :)


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